What were the Relation between Cochin & British?



The Perumpadappu Swarupam or Cochin royal house came into political prominence only in the beginning of the 16th century after the advent of the Portuguese. In the 15th century there began a prolonged conflict between the Zamorin and the Raja of Cochin for the political supremacy of Central Kerala.

The Portuguese and the Cochin ruler became alies because of their common hostility towards Calicut. In 1663 Cochin was captured by the Dutch Company and the capture was justified on the ground of internal dissensions in the Cochin royal house.

This marked the rise of Dutch power in the Cochin coast. The power of the Dutch Company was, however, confined to Cochin and to such small states like Parur and Alangad. During the Mysorean interlude the Dutch policy was to avoid confrontation with the powers interested in the Kerala coast. Out of this power struggle and gamble for spheres of influence English Company came out successful. Tipu took control of large tracts of the Cochin kingdom and the Dutch did nothing to help the Raja of Cochin.

When Tipu retreated the Raja threw off his allegiance to Mysore and entered into a treaty with the English East India Company. This new treaty came into force on the 25th of September 1790, by which Cochin became a tributary to the Company. George Powney represented the English Company and the strong Prince of Cochin; Saktan Tampuran (1790-1805) signed the treaty for Cochin.

The treaty concluded with Raja of Cochin was the 20th treaty signed by the English Company with the princely states of India. By the terms of the treaty, the Company promised to help and support the Cochin Raja in recovering his lost possessions and the Raja could exercise, "a complete and uncontrolled authority over the possessions under the acknowledged sovereignty of the East India Company."

Article IV of the treaty provided for the payment of a yearly tribute in quarterly installments to the Company by the Raja of Cochin. The tribute for the first year was Rs. 70,000, second year Rs. 80,000, third year Rs. 90,000, fourth year Rs. 1, 00,000 and the last mentioned sum in subsequent years after the 4th. Thus Cochin became a protected tributary of the English Company.

After the Third Anglo-Mysore War, Tipu ceded the whole of Malabar excluding Wynad to the English Company After the creation of the Joint Commission, Cochin was placed under the Commissioners and later it was transferred to the Government of Bombay.

However in 1800 it was placed under the government of Fort St. Georg. Since the Bombay government was more alert on matters of commerce, the Cochin Raja, Saktan Tampuran preferred adherence to the Madras Government.

Subsequent to the establishment of the Company's power in Cochin, its agents began to curb the power of the Raja and check his highhandedness by remonstrance's and threats. Matters assumed serious proportions when Col. Colin Macaulay came as Resident in 1800. Saktan Tampuran's relations with the English continued to be unsatisfactory till his death in 1805, despite the fact that this ruler of Cochin was a great administrator, diplomat and maker of modern Cochin State.